Film and TV

Seriously, Parents, Are You Trying to Scare Your Kids to Death?

No doubt Eli Roth, seen here, thinks of his Hostel: Part II as a children's movie.

David Hopkins, the great Arlington-based comic-book writer co-responsible for such well-received titles as Emily Edison and the new Antigone, sends word this morning that he's had enough with seeing parents bringing their young 'uns to horror movies. Can't say I disagree: At recent preview screenings of such way-adult fare as Mr. Brooks, in which Kevin Costner guns down a couple mid-coitus, and Knocked Up, a pro-family pic thick with f-words and pot smoke, there were kids as young as 3 and 4 wandering the aisles, their parents trailing behind with popcorn and sodas. All I could think was, "Jesus, what time do yer kids go to bed, anyway?" And, of course, "Who the eff let these kids in?"

Hopkins, who teaches English and creative writing at Martin High School, takes his lead from Anthony Burch, an Interwebs film critic who recently found himself at a screening of the grisly Hostel: Part II, alongside a 4-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl -- neither of whom likely prefer torture porn to, oh, Surf's Up. "Do you think that an extremely violent horror film, full of castrations, decapitations, and copious nudity, represents a safe environment to a developing child or a dangerous environment?" Burch asks. Oooooh, pick me, pick me! Hopkins' open letter is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

It should be considered child abuse to take young children to see movies like Hostel: Part II.

I completely agree with Anthony Burch. We need to be proactive in letting parents (and movie theaters) know how much we hate them forcing their kids to see extremely violent films. I'm okay with telling parents how to raise their children, if they're being idiots, because I care more about the kid's well-being. I'm a public school teacher. I care about kids. It's what I do.

We don't have millions of dollars for a national ad campaign. But if you're not opposed to sending this link to other people, blogging it, putting it in e-mail forwards, talking with your friends, and so on -- we might be able to make a difference in discouraging some parents from taking children to violent movies.


A. Get a babysitter.

B. Rotate. You go see a movie with your friends. Mom stays home with child. Then you stay home, wife and her friends go see a movie. Save family night for playing board games or going out to eat.

C. See a different movie. Hell. I'll take Knocked Up over Hostel. Although, Surf's Up or Nancy Drew is probably your best choice.

D. Wait to rent it. Watch it after your kids go to bed.

E. If your child goes to daycare, call in sick and watch the movie during the day.

Anyways, read what Anthony Burch has to say.

:: David

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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